Our Brand is Crisis Blu-ray Review
Political dramedies typically fall into a very specific rut. They usually start out with some funny campaign-related events and then turn serious when it’s revealed the candidate or candidates are crooked liars. The problem, of course, is that everyone believes politicians are crooks, so it’s frustrating when the only people shocked by that are the people in the film. OUR BRAND IS CRISIS has plenty of problems, but the glaring issue is that it doesn’t tread any new ground. We’ve all been here before and even with the great Sandra Bullock in the lead, the film never finds its footing.
Jane (Bullock) is a notoriously shrewd campaign manager that left the business for the tranquility of her mountain cabin. But she answers the call when Ben (Mackie) and Nell (Ann Dowd) come asking for her help running a campaign for a presidential candidate in Bolivia. She’s reluctant to get involved, but when she learns her rival Pat (Thornton) is running the campaign of the lead candidate, she accepts. After she arrives in Bolivia, she continues to be disillusioned with politics, but her fierce rivalry with Pat motivates her to stoop to levels she otherwise wouldn’t go to.
The best part about OUR BRAND IS CRISIS is watching Sandra Bullock really immerse herself in the role. She does such a fantastic job that it makes the rest of the film’s shortcomings that much more frustrating. Maybe the worst part about OUR BRAND IS CRISIS is the lack of focus. Jane is a pretty fascinating character, but I got the impression that the most interesting things about her all happened before we met her. It was also off-putting to see how she behaved in the beginning, where she didn’t care at all about the campaign and then was suddenly passionate about him winning. Nothing seemed to have changed from the time they asked her to join to the time she decided to care to make her change her motivations so drastically. There’s also a lot of unnecessary focus on her relationship with some local boys, which was used as motivation at the end, but it also felt out of place and underdeveloped.
Aside from the lack of focus, especially with Jane, OUR BRAND IS CRISIS failed to offer anything new. We’ve seen dirty politicians before and we’ve seen snakey campaign managers that break the rules for their candidates. Everything played out exactly as you would expect and everyone said and did the things the audience was waiting for. I kept waiting for something to surprise me or for the film to take a different turn and it never did.
OUR BRAND IS CRISIS is made tolerable thanks to the charm and natural talent of Sandra Bullock. But the lack of focus or originality put shackles on the film and prevented it from ever being anything more than an average political dramedy. I like the fast-talking Bullock, but this wasn’t the best showcase of her talents.
Video: OUR BRAND IS CRISIS looked wonderful on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other (11:00): Obviously, the main topic here is the fact that Bullock’s role was originally written for a man. Bullock and a few others show up to talk about how great the role is, but that’s really the focus.